How to Avoid 4 Common Winter Illnesses

Published: 22/05/2019

The cold weather can make us more susceptible to certain health conditions, so here are our top tips on how to combat 4 common winter illnesses.

We’re all prone to a sniffle or two in the winter time, but there are a few illnesses that can get worse in the colder weather. To help you stay well this winter, here are a few tips on how to combat 4 common winter health conditions.

  1. Colds & Flu

Probably the most widespread winter ailments, colds and flu really can make life miserable but there are things you can do to lower your risk of catching a virus, such as:

  • Eating well to make sure you get all the vitamins and minerals you need to stay healthy.

  • Wrapping up well when outside and keeping you home warm so you don’t catch a chill.

  • Avoiding other people with colds, especially if they’re sneezing a lot.

  • Washing your hands or using alcohol gel regularly, especially after touching door knobs, light switches, etc.

  • Getting the flu jab or a pneumonia vaccination, if appropriate. Carers and people over 65 can be eligible for a free flu jab.

We all know that a stuffy nose, sore throat, coughing, sneezing and a temperature are to be expected, but cold symptoms should only last for a week or so. Flu symptoms may last a little longer. If you’re reasonably healthy, you shouldn’t need to see your doctor for the usual cold and flu symptoms but if you have chest pains, trouble breathing, a fever over 38 degrees, severe sore throat or sinus congestion that won’t go away, you should see your doctor or pharmacist.

  1. Asthma

For many people with asthma, breathing in cold air can make the condition worse. If you can avoid going out in very cold weather, all the better. If that’s not practical, breathing through your nose to warm the air before it reaches the lungs and putting a warm scarf over your nose and mouth can help. If you take any asthma medication, make sure you take it as per your prescription and remember to have it on you, just in case you need it. If you only usually need your inhaler now and then, it’s easy to miss the cartridge going out of date, so that’s worth checking too.

  1. Norovirus

Unfortunately, we’re all too familiar with headlines about this horrible winter vomiting bug closing down schools and affecting hospital wards. It’s easily spread and particularly nasty, so well worth avoiding if you can. If it’s practical to do so, try and avoid contact with anyone who has sickness and diarrhoea or visiting any hotspots that have been identified by the health authorities. Washing your hands thoroughly before eating and after going to the toilet or touching high risk surfaces like kitchen worktops or door handles can help lower your risk of catching this highly contagious bug.

  1. Heart attacks

A surprising one this, but did you know that colder weather can increase the chances of a heart attack? When your body needs to conserve heat, it makes the blood vessels constrict, which can be bad news for people who already have narrowing of the arteries. Coping with the cold also puts your heart and circulatory system under increased strain which can be a problem for those who have valve disease or heart failure. So, if you have a heart condition, it’s really important to stay warm both indoors and outdoors. Wearing layers is the best way to trap heat, and making sure you keep your extremities nice and cosy can help keep your body warm and lessen the strain on your circulation.

Good Health and Quality Homecare

In the colder months, it can be more difficult for older and vulnerable people to stay healthy and live well at home. If you think you or a relative need a bit of extra help to manage this winter, get in touch to find out more about homecare services from Bluebird Care Bromley. From popping in once a week with the shopping, to Live-in care, we can help, whatever your care needs may be.

Visit the NHS website for more information on staying warm and well this winter.